DP World says its container handling business declined by 6 per cent in the third quarter but that global shipping has begun to level out after steep falls earlier in the year. "We are beginning to see early signs of stability across the industry," said Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World, the fourth-largest global ports operator. This year will be remembered as "a truly horrific year" and the next two years are not looking "too bright" either, said Drewry Shipping Consultants, which is based in London.
Shipping lines may lose more than US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) worldwide this year, Drewry said in a recent report. DP World saw container volumes fall by 8 per cent across its global network in the first nine months of the year, it said. "We are encouraged that trading in the third quarter of this year has seen volumes begin to stabilise after the significant declines of the first half," Mr Sharaf said. "Container volumes across our three reporting regions all reported more containers handled in the third quarter this year than in the second quarter."
He predicted continuing challenges in the fourth quarter, particularly in the UAE, which saw traffic declines of 5 per cent in the first nine months of the year. DP World operates 50 terminals and has another 12 new developments across 32 countries worldwide. After putting most of its expansion plans on hold when the global recession set in, it is starting to grow again. This month, DP World reportedly held discussions with banks to secure financing for the construction of the London Gateway port project, and also opened a container terminal outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, its first to come on line since the economic downturn stalled global trade.
And last month it said it would team with Odebrecht, a Brazilian building firm, to buy a majority stake in a new Brazilian port terminal in the state of Sao Paulo. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org